Featured research (3)
This article reviews group psychotherapy research published within the past 30 years, predominantly focusing on outcomes of group treatments for patients with various mental disorders. Additionally, meta-analyses on the efficacy of group treatments for patients with cancer or chronic pain are summarized. Results strongly support the use of group therapy and demonstrate outcomes equivalent to those of individual psychotherapy. The research also appears to emphasize the effect of feedback on outcomes in group treatments and an association between treatment outcomes and group cohesion and alliance. Other promising developments in the field of group therapy are discussed.
This review ties in with earlier summaries of studies on group therapy research, predominantly focusing on the outcome of group therapy for various disorders. Meanwhile, an increasing number of meta-analyses dealing with this question have been published that are summarized together with results related to group treatment for patients with cancer and pain. The results are clearly in favor of group treatment indicating outcome equivalence of the effectiveness with individual psychotherapy. Besides general outcome studies, recent publications dealt with the effect of feedback on therapy outcome in groups as well as meta-analyses about the roles of alliance and cohesion for the effects of group treatment. Other promising developments in the field of group therapy research are described.
Objective: This meta-analysis evaluates the efficacy of group psychotherapy in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Method: A comprehensive literature search using PubMed, PsychInfo, Web of Science, CENTRAL, and manual searches was conducted to locate randomized controlled trials. We found 57 eligible studies (k = 76 comparisons) including 3656 participants receiving group psychotherapy or an alternative treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder. Results: Effect size estimates show that group psychotherapy reduces specific symptoms of anxiety disorders more effectively than no-treatment control groups (g = 0.92, [0.81; 1.03], k = 43) and treatments providing common unspecific treatment factors (g = 0.29 [0.10; 0.48], k = 12). No significant differences were found compared to individual psychotherapy (g = 0.24 [−0.09; 0.57], k = 7) or pharmacotherapy (g = −0.05 [−0.33; 0.23], k = 6). The effects were unrelated to factors of the group treatment. Within head-to-head studies, a significant moderating effect emerged for researcher allegiance. Conclusions: Our results support the efficacy of group psychotherapy for anxiety disorders. They indicate that mixed-diagnoses groups are equally effective as diagnosis-specific groups, although further evidence is required. Future primary studies should address differential effectiveness, include a wider range of therapeutic approaches as well as active comparison groups.